The Ultimate Chicken Tinga Tacos Recipe You Need to Try

Hello, taco lovers! Today, I’m super excited to share a recipe that’s sure to elevate your taco nights: The Best Chicken Tinga Tacos. Chicken Tinga, a classic dish from Puebla, Mexico, is beloved for its incredible depth of flavor combining smoky, slightly spicy, and tangy notes. The best part? It’s incredibly easy to make, especially with this recipe that balances traditional authenticity with modern kitchen convenience.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Flavorful: The combination of chipotle peppers, tomatoes, and spices creates a rich, robust flavor.
  • Easy to Make: With simple, accessible ingredients and minimal prep, this recipe is perfect for any level of kitchen skill.
  • Versatile: Serve it in tacos, over rice, or even in quesadillas. It’s perfect for leftovers, too!

Ready to dive in? Here’s how to make the ultimate Chicken Tinga tacos for your next meal.


For the Chicken Tinga

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 can (14 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For Serving

  • Corn tortillas
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Diced onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced radishes
  • Sour cream or Mexican crema (optional)
  • Crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese (optional)


  1. Cook the Chicken:
    • Place chicken in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes until fully cooked. Remove chicken, let it cool, and then shred it with two forks.
  2. Make the Tinga Sauce:
    • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Add minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
    • Stir in the chopped chipotle peppers, diced tomatoes, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  3. Combine Chicken and Sauce:
    • Add the shredded chicken to the skillet with the sauce. Stir well to coat the chicken evenly. Let the mixture simmer together for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Prepare the Tacos:
    • Warm the corn tortillas on a skillet or directly over a flame until they are slightly charred and pliable.
    • Spoon the chicken tinga onto each tortilla. Top with fresh cilantro, diced onions, radishes, a squeeze of lime, and a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of queso fresco, if using.
  5. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Serve your tacos hot, with extra lime wedges on the side. The tanginess of the lime juice perfectly complements the smoky heat of the chicken tinga.

Chef’s Tips

  • For a Smokier Flavor: Add a bit more chipotle or a splash of the adobo sauce from the can for an extra smoky hit.
  • For the Chicken: While boiling is quick and easy, you can also use rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken for more depth in the flavor.
  • Meal Prep: Chicken Tinga is even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. It’s perfect for meal prep!

Chicken Tinga tacos are not just a meal; they’re an experience. The first bite transports you straight to the vibrant streets of Puebla. This recipe is perfect for a family dinner or even a festive gathering with friends. It’s hands down a crowd-pleaser that’ll have everyone asking for more. Happy cooking, and even happier eating!


Q1: What is Chicken Tinga? A1: Chicken Tinga is a traditional Mexican dish featuring shredded chicken in a sauce made from tomatoes, chipotle chilis in adobo, and onions. It’s known for its smoky, slightly spicy flavor.

Q2: Can I use canned chicken for this recipe? A2: While fresh or leftover chicken is preferred for the best flavor and texture, canned chicken can work in a pinch. Be sure to drain and rinse it well before use.

Q3: What are the best toppings for Chicken Tinga Tacos? A3: Traditional toppings include diced onions, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges. You can also add sliced radishes, sour cream, or crumbled queso fresco for extra flavor and texture.

Q4: Is Chicken Tinga spicy? A4: Chicken Tinga has a mild to medium spice level, depending on how much chipotle pepper you use. You can adjust the amount of chipotle to increase or decrease the heat according to your preference.

Q5: How long can I store leftover Chicken Tinga? A5: Leftover Chicken Tinga can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It’s perfect for meal prep as the flavors continue to develop, enhancing the dish.

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